In the early hours of Wednesday morning (20), the Russian spy satellite Kosmos-2551 returned to Earth. during the Back to the atmosphereThe satellite glowed like a beautiful fireball seen by observers in the cities of the southern and northern United States. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has received more than 80 reports of people seeing an object glowing in the sky.
There is not much doubt about the identity of the object. AMS estimated that the fireball “caught” at 1:43 a.m. EDT, which is the exact time estimated by the Kosmos-2551 satellite to pass through the reporting areas. “So I concluded that Kosmos-2551’s identity is strong,” commented Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer and satellite tracker. Chris Johnson, one of the people who noticed the re-entry, posted a 27-second video showing the satellite glowing in the sky from the town of Fort Gratiot, Michigan.
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Kosmos-2551 is a Russian reconnaissance satellite that was launched in September but failed. After launch, the satellite failed to adjust its orbit, and McDowell estimated that the satellite would re-enter the atmosphere the next day—the prediction took less than an hour to make. The re-entry of the satellite probably did not produce any debris, so there was no danger of people or buildings on the ground being injured.
Fireballs of this kind, resulting from re-entry into unwanted space, are an event that is not so rare to see – recently, for example, Remnants of a Falcon 9 rocketGive SpaceX, shone in the sky after launching a wave of Starlink satellites. Therefore, as humanity continues to launch more and more satellites into orbit, such accidents are expected to become more and more common.
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